The French government is to launch an unprecedented anti-piracy drive at grassroots level. The government has committed to roll out a new education campaign in French schools by the end of this year.

The French government is to launch an unprecedented anti-piracy drive at grassroots level. The government has committed to roll out a new education campaign in French schools by the end of this year.

France's President Jacques Chirac says in a statement: "The theft of films and music is intolerable. This is why the government will undertake a major drive to improve awareness, notably that of young people, of this problem."

The project will consult with the ministry of education and relevant professionals, according to culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres. "This campaign will have to make young people clearly understand that pirate downloading is illegal and that creating culture costs money," he says.

The culture minister also says a governmental "mission"--headed by two members of the French parliament--would be created to encourage dialog between cultural industries and Internet service providers (ISPs), with the aim of ensuring the success of legal download sites.

National labels body SNEP welcomed the government's stance and affirmed that it would "actively take part" in such dialog.

The French industry recently announced it would launch legal action against individual file-sharers to help stem declines seen in the country's recorded music market. France's recorded music business in the first quarter fell 21.4% year-on-year to €223 million ($266 million), according to SNEP.

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